Depending on how you feel about the quality of previous live-action “Transformers” films, the newest installment, is about what you’d expect for “Transformers: The Last Knight.” It’s an overstuffed, special effect-filled, absolute mess of a sci-fi movie.
The “Transformers” films are known for being large-scale and over the top. After doing the “save the world” plot so many times, there are few options left when attempting to make a worthy sequel. In the case of “The Last Knight,” the producers formed a special “writer’s room” made up of proven TV/film writers to come up with new ideas. What they ultimately decided upon was to intertwine the history of the Transformers with the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Sounds like a reach, right? That’s only the beginning of where this film gets out of control.
The film begins with a flashback to the medieval times of King Arthur, when Arthur and his Knights are battling the mighty Saxon army. Luckily, Merlin has a secret interaction with a Cybertronian Knight (an ancient Transformer), who grants him a powerful staff that allows Merlin to call upon Dragonstorm, a robot who transforms into a three-headed dragon that can wipe out the enemy. When Merlin eventually dies years later, the staff is buried with him and lost for the ages.
Back in the current time period and after the events of the last film, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the relationship between the Transformers and the humans is hostile, to say the least. Optimus Prime has left Earth, Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) is a fugitive in hiding with his Autobot friends. A special military agency called the Transformers Reaction Force (TRF) is hunting down the remaining Transformers. When the government receives information that a new alien threat may yet again mean the destruction of the Earth, the military makes a deal with the Transformers to locate an ancient hidden weapon, which turns out to be Merlin’s staff and their only hope of survival.
As far as characters go, it’s a mix match of people from previous installments, combined with familiar Transformers and more than a handful of new ones. Wahlberg returns as Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor who helped the Autobots save the world in “Age of Extinction.” Josh Duhamel reprises his role as Colonel William Lennox, who was part of the first three films, as was John Turturro, who delivers a small comedic cameo. Glenn Morshower, who played General Morshower in two of the previous movies, returns as well. In quite the confusing fashion, Stanley Tucci returns from “Age of Extinction." Instead of playing the same character, he fills the role of Merlin in the medieval scenes.
The new characters to note include Anthony Hopkins, playing Sir Edmund Burton, an astronomer and historian who is familiar with the Transformer’s history on Earth, Laura Haddock as Viviane Wembly, a Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, Isabela Moner as a street-smart orphan named Izabella, and Jerrod Carmichael, who plays Jimmy, one of Yeager’s companions who provides comic relief. Additionally, Gemma Chan plays the role of Quintessa, a Cybertronian sorceress, and creator of Cybertronians.
Too many characters, too many storylines, and a longer run time of around two and a half hours makes for what many are simply calling “a bad film.” Most can overlook cheesy dialogue, unrealistic CGI filled action, and the typical over-the-top content that makes up these mind numbing sci-fi movies. It’s as if the filmmakers decided to address the decline in popularity to the series by throwing everything they could think of into this go around.
While I’m the kind of viewer that still finds some entertainment value in arguably the “worst” of films, it’s hard to make a legitimate case for “The Last Knight.” This film will likely still do well at the box office, especially overseas. Director Michael Bay and Wahlberg have stated this will be their last film, but the studio has plans for future films and spin-offs that will hopefully be used to create a shared universe similar to that of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
“Transformers: The Last Knight” is rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo. Running time 2 hours and 28 minutes.
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